Tue., July 8, 2014 5:42pm (EDT)

Savannah Truckers Ask Port Authority To Help Push For Better Pay And Benefits
By Sarah McCammon
Updated: 2 weeks ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
About three-dozen independent drivers rallied outside of the Port of Savannah on Tuesday to protest their working conditions. (Photo Credit: Sarah McCammon, GPB News)
About three-dozen independent drivers rallied outside of the Port of Savannah on Tuesday to protest their working conditions. (Photo Credit: Sarah McCammon, GPB News)
The leader of the Georgia Ports Authority says he’s listening to the concerns of truck drivers at the Port of Savannah. But he says workers protesting at the port Tuesday should take their concerns to their employers.

Truck drivers are asking GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz to meet with them to discuss their concerns. Foltz says it’s not his place to get involved in labor discussions.

"Now, if what they’re saying is go sit with them and talk about something their employers are not doing to or with them, that’s a conversation that candidly, I’m not involved in, I shouldn’t be involved in it.,” said Fotlz. “And it’s something they should take directly to their employer.

About three-dozen independent drivers and their supporters rallied outside the Port of Savannah. The drivers were protesting their status as independent contractors, which they say deprives them of benefits like workers’ compensation and prevents them from organizing to negotiate their pay. Georgia is a right to work state.

Driver Gerald Spaulding says after paying for gas and repairing their trucks, many port drivers earn close to minimum wage.

“We’re at the bottom of the totem pole,” said Spaulding. “You know everyone else is living off of this prominent facility, so we’re here to get our fair share.

The demonstrators were turned away. But Foltz tells GPB that the port is working to create jobs.

Around 40 truck drivers who work at the Port they’re in solidarity with drivers in California who are striking for better pay and benefits.